Double Exposure is an iconic variation of blackjack, created by American game theorist Richard Epstein. The game debuted at the Vegas World Casino in October 1979 and has been a great success since. It is featured at a variety of online casinos, with most acclaimed suppliers creating their own versions of Double Exposure.
The Swedish software studio NetEnt also jumped on the bandwagon and released their take on the popular blackjack variation in 2013. NetEnt’s version of the game utilizes a total of 6 decks of cards and the virtual dealer arrives at a standing position when they reach a total of 17. This applies to both hard and soft 17s.
Other than this, both cards of the dealer are exposed as the name of the game itself tells us. However, this perk comes at a high expense since some of the payouts and the other rules are tweaked to offset the advantage the exposed cards give to the player.
Hitting and Standing Decisions in Double Exposure
The 6 decks are automatically reshuffled before the start of each round of play. You can play on up to three betting spots at the same time. The game is available in three different betting ranges. Players on the lower betting spectrum can risk anywhere between $0.10 and $5 per hand. The mid-range game supports bets between $1 and $40 whereas the high-limit version allows you to wager as much as $500 on each round.
A round commences with the player and the dealer both receiving two face-up cards. The player is the first to act on their hand. If satisfied with their starting two-card total, they can stand. Unlike the dealer, the player can stand on any total.
They can also choose to hit, or request additional cards from the dealer to improve the value of their hand. The player wins with a hand whose value is closer to 21 than that of the dealer’s hand, when the dealer busts but the player does not, or when they have a blackjack against a dealer who does not.
Blackjacks and multi-card hands that total 21 stand by default and cannot be hit. There are two unpleasant twists in Double Exposure. First, the dealer takes all pushes with the exception of tied blackjacks. And second, all wins return even-money payouts, including those achieved with blackjacks. When both the dealer and the player have blackjacks, the player wins even money instead of pushing with the dealer.
Splitting Pairs in Double Exposure
Splitting is only an option when you have two cards of the same denomination, like 2-2 or 8-8, for instance. You make another bet equal to your first wager to cover the second hand that results from the split. In Double Exposure, splitting is allowed only once to a total of two hands. Unlike court cards can also be split.
Following a split, the player has the option to take as many hits as they like, or at least until they bust by exceeding the total of 21. This rule applies to all pairs with the exception of those consisting of Aces. Split Aces cannot be hit.
Instead, each split Ace automatically receives only one additional card. If this happens to be a 10 or a court card, the hand counts as 21 and not as blackjack, which means it loses against a dealer with a natural.
Doubling Rules in Double Exposure
To compensate for the massive advantage seeing both cards of the dealer gives you, Double Exposure has some limitations in terms of doubling rules. Of course, you must make another bet equal to the original one in order to double down.
Here, this move is available only on initial card totals that add up to 9, 10 or 11. These totals must be hard, which is to say any Aces they may possibly contain have lost their flexibility and are counted as 1 only. You receive only one more card after doubling and your hand automatically stands. Doubling after a split is permitted.
Insurance is unavailable in Double Exposure by default due to the peculiarities of the game. Players get to see both cards of the dealer immediately, so practically there is no point for them to insure their hands against dealer blackjacks.
The absence of the insurance side bet is hardly anything to cry about, though. In general, this is considered a sucker bet because it does nothing to increase the odds of winning with your main bet. Additionally, insurance carries a higher house edge of 7.40% in six-deck games like Double Exposure, which is why those who rely solely on basic strategy for their playing decisions should never accept this side bet.